Heather Mercer was arrested and tried under Islamic law for her work with women and children in Afghanistan. She worked primarily with widows and orphans, creating work opportunities for women and helping children develop critical job skills and had cultivated relationships with Afghan families.
“The Taliban had their eye on us over a period of several months and ultimately set a trap for us one day on August 3rd, 2001, when we went to visit an Afghan family,” she told Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt.
Mercer was a missionary in Afghanistan, a factor she believes contributed to her arrest.
“The Taliban was really trying to gain control of the whole country,” she said.
“They were forcing non-Muslims to wear a yellow star. And really the Taliban were just trying to create a pure Islamic emirate and did not want anything that was an affront to that ideology taking place in Afghanistan. So we were an easy target.”
She was held hostage for 105 days.
Mercer said she was never physically harmed, but the Taliban used psychological tactics to create fear and try to influence her to reveal information.
“It was a very terrifying experience,” she said. “Eventually we were brought to trial before the Afghan Supreme Court and tried under Islamic law for a capital crime.”
Mercer was rescued by U.S. Special Forces.
She is now working to get an Afghan family out of the country as the Taliban is taking control.
The family, a mother and her six children, are all U.S. citizens and green card holders, but they’re unable to access the airport to leave Afghanistan.
“The situation is extreme, very dangerous,” she said. “Yesterday, they were throwing tear gas, shooting bullets and hitting people back with wooden batons.”
“The situation is dire.”